Data deletion doubts

Posted On 08 Apr 2014
Comment: Off

New research from Iron Mountain suggests that consumers doubt whether the widely-publicised ‘right to be forgotten’ will work in practice. The European study found that the overwhelming majority (92 per cent) of consumers in the UK say they now deal with so many organisations, both online and offline, that they no longer know who holds what information about them. At the heart of the EU’s proposed data and privacy protection reforms is a belief that the protection of personal information is a fundamental right for all Europeans. Any organisation that fails to do its utmost to respect this right could face a fine of up to 2% of its global turnover. Under the proposed changes to European law, consumers will be able to ask companies that hold information about them to remove it. However, close to three in four consumers (74%) in the UK are not convinced that the benefits of having their information deleted would be worth the bother of asking for it to be removed, and 86 per cent don’t believe a company would honour the request anyway, even if the company assured them that their information had been deleted. Furthermore, there is considerable confusion when it comes to the kind of information a person can ask to have removed. Most of those surveyed in the UK believe they would be entitled to ask for personal information (91 per cent), financial details (64 per cent) and email correspondence (54 per cent) to be deleted. However, less than half think their rights would extend to recorded telephone conversations (42 per cent) or social media posts (32 per cent). Close to half (45 per cent) believe that information held on paper” such as letters or completed forms” would be covered by data protection laws, despite the fact that two thirds (64 per cent) of respondents feel information on paper is easier to destroy than information held about them online. ” Almost everything we do creates an information trail that can be collected, processed and possibly shared. Organisations that collect this information need to manage it carefully and protect it securely. The proposed EU data protection reforms are a good first step to better protecting consumers,” said Christian Toon, Head of Information Risk for Europe at Iron Mountain.” However, our research suggests that consumer attitudes have shifted since the EU reforms were first drawn up on the back of a wave of consumer data fears in 2011. While consumers today remain happy to conduct much of their business and social lives online, they no longer trust organisations to comply with a request to delete personal data. Organisations can help overcome this pessimism by educating consumers on their policies and procedures.” ” Whether you hold personal information on paper, online or in an electronic database, you need to know what you hold, where you hold it, and how to delete or destroy it securely when asked to do so and to do so in a way that is transparent and accountable. Firms have much to gain from building trust before the law obliges them to do so. Trust builds loyalty and loyalty drives sales.”

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.